The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

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The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Mr. G » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:30 pm

I came across the following article on elephantjournal:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/ ... -rinpoche/
“The spiritual journey can be very tricky.” Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Just as the American Revolution began as a misunderstanding between loyal British subjects, so is this crisis of faith we now face as Karma Kagyu in America.
We have just experienced our equivalent of the Boston Massacre, a local decision made in the heat of the moment, with historic global implications.
What began in 2008 as a dispute over someone not cutting a Tibetan nobleman’s lawn has resulted in a full blown schism in our sangha.
I have spoken at length, on background, with both patriot and loyalist representatives since I became aware of the recent incident which has so divided us.
Personally, I have seen this coming since the parinirvana of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in 1981, so I’m not at all surprised that it has come to this.
I was shocked though when I was told that the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra board of directors had decided to ban Bardor Tulku Rinpoche from teaching.
Not only did they ban him from teaching at the monastery he literally built with his own hands, like an ordinary laborer, despite his exalted status as a lineage holder.
Adding insult to injury, to the outrage of Karma Kagyu patriots, they have shamelessly cast Rinpoche as the disloyal instigator of this crisis.
The loyalists claim, without proof, that this is the will of HHK17, while the patriots dispute this with documentation contradicting such a claim.
This is typical of Tibetan tradition though. In the past Rinpoche would have been imprisoned for siding with the patriots as he has.
I have contacted the KTD board of directors for their side of the story but I have not heard back from them as of yet unfortunately.
A representative of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche did respond immediately to my request for a statement and we spoke at length on the phone about the subject.
Also, my guru, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, is a loyalist in this dispute, while my wife recently took refuge with Bardor Tulku Rinpoche and is a patriot as such.
As a matter of principle I have never supported either Karma Triyana Dharmachackra or its local affiliate center Karma Thegsum Choling.
Although it was the wish of HHK16 to establish a monastic seat here I have always believed that to do so would be to repeat the mistakes of Tibetan history.
And here we are thirty years later, and that effort has been laid to waste because someone neglected to mow a Tibetan nobleman’s lawn like a good peasant.
It was the failure of the British to control the Hudson River that flows to the east of Woodstock, New York, that led to their defeat in North America.
Those Tibetans who doubt what we Americans are made of need only read of what happened to General Burgoyne in 1777 up river at Saratoga.
If HHK17 doesn’t personally intercede in this crisis it will result in the failure of the Karma Kagyu as a religion in North America as we know it.
I can’t verify this number, but my loyalist source has indicated that 80 percent of KTC members have taken refuge with Bardor Tulku Rinpoche.
They consider his banning to be an insult to their guru and have responded as one might expect them to, despite their loyalty to HHK17 and the lineage.
Previously, before this most recent development, a disciple of Situ Rinpoche shared with me that key benefactors have withdrawn their support for the monastery.
It was only a matter of time, from my perspective, but my fellow Karma Kagyu have finally begun to tire of being treated like we are a bunch of peasants.
All this began as a cultural misunderstanding over the privileges of a Tibetan nobleman, who was made president for life of KTD as a matter of his birthright.
As my patriot source put it to me, all they want is the nobleman to retire and an elected board of directors be put in charge; to hell with Tibetan tradition.
On the other hand, my loyalist source reminded me that the Karma Kagyu isn’t a democracy and none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.
Either way, as Julius Caesar is supposed to have said when he crossed the Rubicon, “the die has been cast,” and we are witnessing the end of an era for our lineage.
The monastery is likely to fail, thanks to the failure of Tibetans to accept Americans as their equals. It is as simple as that. We are peasants to them.
As my patriot source told me, Bardor Tulku talks regularly with HHK17, who continues to support his dharma activity here.
On a personal note, Rinpoche has recovered from his stroke. He limps, reminiscent of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, but is otherwise doing well.
He has a new dharma home, Kunzang Palchen Ling, across the Hudson River from KTD, and the support of some of our lineage’s best and brightest disciples.
We may look like sheep, sound like sheep, smell like sheep, feel like sheep, but we aren’t sheep. Some Tibetans have a problem with this.
Everybody needs to chill and remember that we all are Karma Kagyu, patriot and loyalist, and trust that His Holiness will address the concerns of all factions.

Later.

Karmapa Chenno

(Please follow me on Twitter @Ryderjaphy)

A persistent young man I met on Twitter named Waylon Lewis asked me to write something for Elephant Journal. I’d just been diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure. Tibetan Buddhists tend to be pretty tight lipped about their experiences but I figured given the circumstances I might as well break the silence. EJ readers have taken to what I have to say about my life as a Tibetan Buddhist and what it’s like to be sick and dying as one so now I’m a columnist here. I write to engage my audience and try to respond to every reader’s comments as frankly as possible which isn’t always pretty but at least it’s real. Karmapa Chenno!



This is the first I've heard of this. Does anyone know if there have been other pieces from both sides written so I can make a more informed judgment?
    How foolish you are,
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:15 am

I'm not quite sure what you're going to get from the KTD board of directors. There has been some sad things going on over there, and honestly I'm not quite sure about all of it. In the last couple years, it seems like KTD has been firing many of the senior staff, many of whom are my good friends.

I will let you know that there's no ill will from myself or any of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche's students towards KTD, and we all really want to have the situation resolved. We're all dharma brothers and sisters and are in this together.

If anything we're all really sad because we've always thought of KPL as a protector and sister site to KTD. I and others personally hate to think about the damage this could do to many of Rinpoche's students at the various KTCs around the country, now that he is not allowed to teach at them anymore (however from what I've heard many students will just open their homes and let him teach there if he can't teach in the center).

I really hope this situation can be resolved quickly. I really feel that it's only going to damage KTD's reputation, as it will just drive more of Rinpoche's students to KPL, as it makes them feel unwelcome at KTD. I'm pretty worried myself about going back there after all of this; where I usually have frequented both centers. I hold both Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Bardor Tulku Rinpoche very close to my heart, so the situation just really sucks.

So at least from the KPL end, the feelings here are all just a mixture of sadness and shock that something like this would happen. Bardor Tulku Rinpoche's service to KTD and it's community has been immense, and I just honestly can't understand why the KTD board would do something like this.

I really think some bad karma is boiling up to the surface at KTD, and I really hope it's quickly purified. I keep everyone there in my daily prayers so that the situation can be resolved.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Heruka » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:34 am

i know karmapa very hot on maintaining the lineage, is the issue the teacher teaching his own gterma in kamstang kagyu centers?
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:40 am

Heruka wrote:i know karmapa very hot on maintaing the lineage, is the issue the teacher teaching his own gterma in kamstang kagyu centers?


Rinpoche has never taught from his terma lineage at KTD (or at any of the centers) as far as I know. That was the whole reason KPL is being built -- so he would have a place to teach it. At KTD he has always been strictly Karma Kagyu. In fact, even getting him to talk about his terma lineage would take a whole lot of arm twisting.

It also goes a bit beyond Rinpoche not being able to teach at KTD. Many of his students, notably Lama Yeshe Gyamtso (who has done countless translations at KTD and for HH the Karmapa) is not allowed to teach there, as well as a few other lamas. I've also heard that Garchen Rinpoche is also not on the list of acceptable teachers.

The whole situation is very very strange. :( I mean, in his last trip to America, HH the Karmapa visited KPL and met with many of us students, and gave us and the center his blessings. Only a few weeks ago Thrangu Rinpoche visited the center and did the same. I have no idea why the KTD board would go and do something like this.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Heruka » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:48 am

i smile to myself because kagyu is bigger than just kamstang kagyu control, it is a tree of refuge after all for all beings, a tree that has many off shoots and branches. center politics i have never cared for.

not all teachers are realized, not all students are ignorant.

:anjali:
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:13 am

I dont believe it, Ive was just on the KTD website today.
I highly doubt the Namse Bangdzo bookstore would sell books and teachings by a teacher banned from teaching.
:ban:
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:35 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:I dont believe it, Ive was just on the KTD website today.
I highly doubt the Namse Bangdzo bookstore would sell books and teachings by a teacher banned from teaching.
:ban:


It did happen. :( I just hope HH the Karmapa resolves this situation quickly, because I don't know anyone else who could. Karmapa Chenno!
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:42 am

Thats a questionable decision on the part of the KTD. But honestly, how much sway does HH hold on a seat in another country?
Does he still technically have say in the happenings at Tsurphu?
This could be something trivial, but regardless I hope he is welcomed back.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:52 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:Thats a questionable decision on the part of the KTD. But honestly, how much sway does HH hold on a seat in another country?


It is his North American seat, so I would assume he has the final say in the matter.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:12 am

Well yeah, and if that be the case, can we REALLY argue with the decision of a manifest bodhisattva?
Some how I think that he didnt have much say in it, I mean Tsurphu is HH's seat in Tibet, but how much contact do any of them have with eachother? I cant see the logic behind removing a very intelligent and effective teacher, especially one who had hand in HH's education.

And aside from that, Ive had negative dealings with Ryderjaphy in Buddhist groups on myspace for his extremism, and I think this article may be example of that (over exaggeration?)
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:24 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:Well yeah, and if that be the case, can we REALLY argue with the decision of a manifest bodhisattva?
Some how I think that he didnt have much say in it, I mean Tsurphu is HH's seat in Tibet, but how much contact do any of them have with eachother? I cant see the logic behind removing a very intelligent and effective teacher, especially one who had hand in HH's education.

And aside from that, Ive had negative dealings with Ryderjaphy in Buddhist groups on myspace for his extremism, and I think this article may be example of that (over exaggeration?)


I really really hope so, but given my discussions with everyone at KPL, it doesn't seem to be the case. The day after it happened Lila (who runs the center for the most part) called me up to tell me and talk about it, she was really distraught. :( I know HH the Karmapa wasn't behind the decision, that's for certain. I just hope he can resolve it.

On another note, I think this is a great place to put this excerpt from a teaching Rinpoche gave while giving the refuge vows earlier this summer (perhaps a little foresight?):

I need to make something clear about this distinction between the three jewels, and this clarification is especially needed in a culture such as western culture where buddhadharma is relatively new. Because we take refuge in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha, when we are new to buddhadharma, we generally have the attitude that all three must be perfect. We therefore expect that any member of the sangha must be perfect, and then as soon as we discover—as we eventually must—that members of the sangha have problems, then we decide that the whole thing must be a lie. We are disillusioned about the sangha. This causes us to distrust the dharma and lose faith all together. This, however, can be easily prevented by gaining an understanding of the attributes of the three jewels as explained by the Buddha. If you understand the distinctions the Buddha made among the attributes of the three jewels, this disillusionment and rejection of dharma—this disappointment—need not occur.

If the Buddha had said, “I take refuge in the sangha, supreme among all that is free of attachment,” then our disillusionment would be justifiable. If the Buddha had claimed that the sangha was free of attachment, then as soon as we detected a dharma teacher or member of the sangha demonstrating attachment, such as attachment to food or sex or pleasure of some kind, disillusionment would be justifiable. But the Buddha never said that. The Buddha did not say, “Take refuge in the sangha because they are free of attachment. He said, “Take refuge in the sangha, the best society, supreme among assemblies.” Now what does it mean? As human beings, we are involved in societies, groups, and organizations of all kinds. Many of these are inherently negative. Many of them are neutral. But among all of the societies in which we may take part, the sangha is unique because it is dedicated to mutual support in the pursuit of awakening. So the Buddha never claimed that we should expect the sangha to be perfect. But we should understand the sangha to be the best society.

He did, on the other hand, assert the perfection of dharma. He said, “I take refuge in the dharma, supreme among all that is free of attachment.” And there is a reason for this. Just as the Buddha did not claim that the sangha is free of attachment, he did claim that dharma is free of attachment. Dharma has two aspects: The dharma of tradition and the dharma of realization. The dharma of tradition refers to the Buddha’s teachings and the commentaries upon them. These exist as books. Books are inanimate objects. Books, the words in books, the ideas communicated by those words, as inanimate things cannot possibly have kleshas. You can never mistrust the message found in these books on the basis of assuming that it might have a klesha. It cannot. The other aspect of dharma is realization. This realization dharma is the achievement of the fruition (or result) of the path—the achievement of nirvana—whether it is the nirvana of a shravaka; the nirvana of a pratyekabuddha; or the great non-abiding nirvana of a buddha—the wisdom which knows what there is and the nature of all that there is, the culmination of the bodhisattva path. Whether it is the one-sided nirvana of a shravaka or pratyekabuddha, or the great nirvana of a buddha, which transcends both samsara and nirvana, realization refers to the transcendence of samsara and therefore all kleshas. When someone achieves realization dharma, they cannot and do not have kleshas. Therefore neither the dharma of tradition nor the dharma of realization can possess attachment or any other kleshas. Therefore it was correct and important for the Buddha to make that assertion. If you understand the difference between the dharma and the sangha, then you will not be surprised and disillusioned when you see flaws in dharma teachers or other members of the sangha. You will recognize that as members of the sangha they deserve your support in the mutual achievement of liberation.

In this way an understanding of the attributes of the three jewels not only inspires confidence in them, but it enables us to understand correctly the differences between them. And this understanding will enable us when we observe the imperfections of members of the sangha not to become angry at them, but to feel compassion for them. We will recognize that the other members of the sangha are attempting to follow the correct path, but that they have not yet completed it—they have not yet achieved the state of buddhahood—and therefore they still have kleshas. Recognizing that, we will not be surprised or shocked; we will feel compassion. This brings two benefits. The first, most obvious benefit, is that we will feel supportive compassion for other members of the sangha rather than aggression or anger. The other benefit is that we will not commit the downfall of abandonment of dharma. The abandonment of the dharma is said to be a more serious problem than even the five actions of immediate consequence. So by recognizing the difference between the dharma and the sangha, we will feel compassion and not anger toward the sangha, and we will ourselves be free from the abandonment of dharma. However we may act as members of the sangha, if we can remember that the buddhadharma itself is flawless, then we will avoid the problems of losing faith, losing heart, and these benefits will accrue. In the Uttaratantra Shastra by Lord Maitreya there is a very detailed and precise presentation of the attributes of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—a concise presentation, a detailed presentation, and then a very detailed presentation. So as the Uttaratantra Shastra has been translated along with some of its commentaries, you would be well advised to study it and learn more about the three jewels. Based on The Words of My Perfect Teacher as a source text, what has been described up to this point is what are called the outer three jewels of the causal vehicle—the Buddha, dharma, and sangha.


The full teaching, and quite a few others, are here: http://kunzang.org/kplblog/

So anyways, I really hope we all can pray for everyone involved, so that this can come to a quick and beneficial resolution to all sentient beings, helping the Karma Kagyu teachings flourish.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby BFS » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:57 pm

My prayers are with you all without exception! May the problems being experienced soon come to an end so that these precious lineages can continue to flourish! :heart:
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Mr. G » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:34 pm

Thanks for the update Jangchup. I'm still unclear on the whole story surrounding the issue, but I'll dig around a little more.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:21 pm

This sort of thing just breaks me up. Example:

http://www.kagyu.org/kagyulineage/cente ... sa-ari.php
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:12 pm

What I fail to understand about this entire thing is how exactly japhy got from a scism to Tibetans vs. westerners, and then slaves???
This is ironic, not two days ago I purchased a list of long life prayers, one being for bardor rinpoche.
This is all wrong. We should also pray for whoever banned him from teaching (specifically) because its BAD news to create a scism in the sangha. Isnt that like the last grave offense after drawing blood from a buddha?

:oops:
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:01 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:What I fail to understand about this entire thing is how exactly japhy got from a scism to Tibetans vs. westerners, and then slaves???
This is ironic, not two days ago I purchased a list of long life prayers, one being for bardor rinpoche.
This is all wrong. We should also pray for whoever banned him from teaching (specifically) because its BAD news to create a scism in the sangha. Isnt that like the last grave offense after drawing blood from a buddha?

:oops:


While I don't think this is "technically" causing a schism in the Sangha (I think for that you need to say your teachings or wisdom is higher than that of the Buddha while doing it), it is a really horrible situation with some really heavy negative karma.

So you're exactly right. We really need to be praying for the KTD board so they can stop doing this harm not only to KTD but to all of its students.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby conebeckham » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:56 pm

You all realize that when you say "the KTD Board" is wrong, incurring heavy karma, creating a schism, etc., that you're talking about Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche as well, right??

I understand the emotional responses, myself, and FROM THE OUTSIDE it appears certain Draconian measure were taken, or that Bardor Tulku Rinpoche has been "wronged." But I also recognize that not many know what's really transpired. I would like to see some transparancy, or at least a public accounting of what's going on, with minimal spin......but I'd urge people to keep their own counsel, and control themselves. Don't jump to conclusions, don't cast aspersions, but maintain a clear mind.

I seriously doubt that any far-reaching action would be taken at KTD without the office of HH Karmapa being in the loop in some way before-hand...
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Jangchup Donden » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:20 am

conebeckham wrote:You all realize that when you say "the KTD Board" is wrong, incurring heavy karma, creating a schism, etc., that you're talking about Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche as well, right??


I'm well aware Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche is on the board and I think that's what hurts the most about all of this.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Heruka » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:34 am

really a schism can only occur if one claims they have a better dharma than the buddha's.

can i just say that i find it odd that all this stems as we are told, from a 'non' action and not 'a' action, i.e, the grass was not cut, not the grass was cut.
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Re: The Banning of Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Postby Mr. G » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:09 pm

The author has added additional comments to his original article:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/ ... -rinpoche/

Kunzang Palchen Ling was established in 2003 by Bardor Tulku Rinpoche at the behest of HHK17 and Situ Rinpoche so anyone who argues this represents an issue are sadly mistaken.

To the extent that KPL has become an issue for some is that KTD suffers by comparison as an organization and not anything to do with its existence or the dharma activity of Rinpoche.

Neither is the Barway Dorje terma that Rinpoche holds the lineage for an issue either. I received an empowerment last year from Rinpoche at Chicago KTC from the terma.

We discussed how it differed from the usual Vajrasattva empowerment one would ordinarily receive at KTD and its affiliate KTC centers which only made it more meaningful to us.

Nobody complained that it wasn't the exact same sadhana the sangha regularly practices. If people complained it was that Rinpoche had been holding back on us all these years.

Perhaps Tibetans can't get their minds around this. I don't know if this is so. I do know that it is being argued by some that we can't, and thus need to be protected from such possible confusion.

Some argue that Rinpoche and Tenzin-la grew up together in the home of HHK16 and that this all goes back to some unresolved childhood issue. I've heard it all.

Everyone involved with the running of KTD had long ago figured out how to work around Tenzin-la and accepted that they were stuck with him for life, per Tibetan tradition.

Tenzin-la and the staff member responsible for the mowing his lawn neglected to do so butted head two years ago. Whether it was inevitable, karma, or just bad luck is open to discussion.

What is not up for discussion is whether it happened or not, nor that Tenzin-la fired the staff member. When Tenzin-la overruled the KTD board's decision to retain the staff member BTR resigned in protest.

Then came the recent KTD board's directives which resulted in the resignation from KTD of longtime Karma Kagyu stalwarts, Naomi and Tom Schmidt.,

Perhaps Tibetans are particularly stupid. I don't know. I do know that there are some who think we are too stupid to figure out that KTD was banning BTR with the KTD board's latest resolutions.

The updated list of approved teachers: no BTR; the liturgy we chant for the long lives of our teachers: no BTR. The picture of BTR on the shrine: no BTR.

A friend told me that at least they aren't Nazis, but Stalinists. I wouldn't put airbrushing him from pictures of him pounding nails as he built KTD with his own hands.

People keep asking for more details of what happened. As HHK16 used to say, nothing happened. All we have to do is observe the causes of conditions of the result before us.

People ask what is to be done. Benefactors have sent letters to HHK17 asking him to intervene. All we cam do is speak out, to not forget what happened and rebut those who choose to forget how we got here.

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